When it comes to having fun at UCI, for the average student, partying and clubbing is fairly high up there on their list of “What To Do on a Thursday Night.” But—believe it or not—quite a few students seek out a different type of fun, a “halal” kind of fun which doesn’t involve ending the previously-mentioned Thursday night passed out on someone’s front lawn (cue those stereotypical movie depictions of the American college experience).
Regardless, the term “halal” is meant to describe what is permissible for Muslims to partake in, consume, wear, and say, among other things. Because it is not permissible for Muslims to drink alcohol, or go clubbing, they seek a different type of fun—something that doesn’t require them to be in such an environment. And although this may seem like a near-impossible feat to accomplish for college students, once you start thinking outside the box, alternatives to the partying scene are easier to attain than you’d think.
Say you’re hanging out with your friends on that infamous Thursday night, trying to decide what to do: you don’t have much cash (I mean come on after all you are a college student) and you have UTC memorized like the back of your hand. So what now? It might seem like a surprise, but there are actually lots of fun things to do around Irvine. So grab some friends, and a camera and prepare yourself for a new kind of fun.
Downtown Disney– Only 15 minutes away from campus, Downtown Disney is an exciting place full of fun and entertainment to amuse you for at least a few hours. And if you don’t have car, don’t worry about it; the OCTA can take you there (it’s free for students and it’s better for the environment.) Downtown Disney is a bustling hotspot full of various shops, restaurants, kiosks. As soon as you walk in, there is live entertainment welcoming you. A few of the shops and restaurants include the LEGO Store, ESPN Sports Zone, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Rainforest Café, Haagen Daaz, and of course, what would Downtown Disney be without the GIGANTIC DISNEY STORE. Personally, being fans of ice cream we would definitely suggest visiting Haagen Daaz and getting the scoop on the new flavors; plus its one of the only places we were willing to spend money. Overall, Downtown Disney is definitely worth a visit, considering its proximity and entertainment level.
Starplex Cinemas, AKA “the infamous dollar theater”—Just a couple of miles down Culver Blvd, this theater is perfect for broke college students (yes, I mean you). You pay between $1-$2, depending on what time you go, and get to see the semi-latest flicks, meaning the ones that came out a couple months ago, but stopped playing in the bigger theaters. With a price that can’t be beat, and super close to campus, Starplex Cinemas is a great place to kill a couple hours with some friends.
Boomers– Remember the good ol’ days when you would go out with your family and friends and enjoy a fun-filled day playing miniature golf, laser tagging and go-karting? Well I have great news for you, now you can relive those days. That’s right, our friends at Boomers are helping us relive our childhood all over again, with fun filled activities such as Go-karting, and miniature you can’t go wrong. Don’t have a car, don’t worry about it, you can ride the OCTA, remember, it is free for students.
The LAB– Are you sick of South Coast Plaza and the Spectrum? Looking for something new and cool to satisfy your shopping desires? Well then you should definitely go check out the LAB. The name itself sounds interesting and intriguing enough to make you want to go. The LAB, located in Costa Mesa on South Bristal, is a bohemian mall, which is quite different from your everyday strip malls. There are tons of non-chain stores, carrying all the latest trendy clothes, sunglasses, shoes, etc. In addition, there is usually music, art shows, or other special events going on to keep you entertained as you (window) shop.
San Giovanni’s Pizza Parlor– Tired of greasy, bland fast food pizza? Craving some delicious fresh baked pizza, with almost any possible topping you can think of? Well crave no more, San Giovanni’s to the rescue! Located in Anaheim, this family owned pizza parlor offers an intimate setting to hang out at and great deals on delicious pizzas, whether you want a slice or the whole enchilada, or in this case pizza. In addition to the amazing food, San Gio’s has a great atmosphere, it is colorfully decorated, has an amazing staff, and has two huge plasma TVs so you can keep up with the latest sports game (we watched a Laker’s game last time we were there). Overall, this is a great place to visit, if you have the time and means to drive over, and if you don’t, find a friend with a car and make time, because you don’t want to miss out on what San Giovanni’s has to offer.
Mother’s Market– A grocery store with an organic twist. Mother’s Market, conveniently located on the corner of Michelson and Jamboree, is THE place to go for all your organic grocery needs. They have a wide selection of foods and products that can fill almost any special diet. Plus, they have a pretty decent restaurant and amazing fresh smoothies.
Golden Spoon– Is Yogurtland the only place to get frozen yogurt? No way, Jose! Golden Spoon is conveniently located on Jamboree, super close to campus, and provides an alternative to Yogurtland. And yes, it’s just as good, and better even, if you prefer creamy, soft-serve yogurt. They offer a variety of flavors and toppings, and you actually get a golden spoon! So if you’re sick of Yogurtland, but still in the mood for some a yummy frozen treat, head on over to Golden Spoon instead.
Turtle Rock Hiking Trail– If you are a fan of nature then you are definitely going to love to go hiking. Located just 5-10 minutes away from campus. This hiking trail provides a nice trail. The top of the hill provides a nice and scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and if you decide to drop by at nighttime then you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the numerous stars that shine the way! If you are not feeling up for the walk then you can always grab your bike a couple of your friends and head on up. You can have fun as well as get a great workout all for no cost.
SUMAYYA KHAN and SHABNAM SHEIKH are second year Biological Science majors at the University of California, Irvine.
Photo by Rayan Fakhro